Pearl Fishing in the Great River

We have entered the time of the Water Dragon and the world is alive with great change…..

The Water Dragon is like a powerful river – the spirit of the waters alive with vitality and strength, the Dragon returning to the deepest levels of Life …..when the Dragon returns and flows with the river’s power, throughout the land it enters Life with the force of a mighty watercourse in spate, fed by 10,000 mountain springs and myriad storms…..all in its path is swept up within its dynamic flow, everything changes, and the flow of change itself becomes charged with the rising divine energy of the Dragon…..

When Change becomes charged with divine energy, so that the power of spirit supercedes the limitations of the mundane, ordinary life takes on the appearance of continual transformation that is driven by powers beyond the control of human mentality – how do we work with this energy, how do we bring our personal and collective paths into accord with its direction? The wise-women and men of old left us instructions, the waymarkers, signs and symbols born of their experience and knowledge of such times, to assist us in this……

In keeping with the cultural origins of the Water Dragon, as a symbol and a power, within the body of the I Ching we find this as a beginning…….bring your awareness into the place of clarity and repose within, make good the inner and outer shrines, and make offerings according to the sincerety you find there……what is most sincere is uncorrupted and free of conditioning, is in accord with the times and the flow of change, so offerings made at this time, in this way, will establish the real and eliminate the false…..(1)

In the outer world, when the winds of change are picking up strength (the I Ching presents the image of the wind above the earth) we are called into a state of alert observation, being careful. Gradual progress is favoured, not advancing with impetuousity, but, with clarity of mind. This is the way of correcting degeneration… the beginning, if clarity of mind is to be the foundation of our actions, making use of actions that themselves encourage clarity itself and fostering alert observation, ‘making good the shrines’ is the symbol of finding the peaceful meeting place of mind, heart and spirit such that correcting degeneration may follow naturally from this. In our world, this is also ‘coming into accord with’ our current times……

But, the power of the Dragon is beyond human mentality – it is celestial in origin, cannot be contained, and is by nature both beneficial and transformative, the fundamental life-force that animates Life. It is the human mentality that is sincere and able to honour this power that can cultivate reality and flow with the changes at large in the world in such times. The Oracle of Changes continues……

…..when the real comes, the false naturally submits; this requires the gradual cultivation of the mundane through the influence of the divine. This is like honouring the deity, where the gradual process of cultivation rests upon sincerety. By the gradual effects of sincerety our communication with the spirit of the deity works to cultivate reality and, in this way, cultivating reality does not rest on the physical, but, on spiritual clarity; first you make the heart, mind and spirit sincere and truthful, then you practice it in the body. This is the meaning of ‘alert observation’. There is a great treasure contained here…..

Spiritual clarity works silently, swift without being hasty, entering by sincerity, functioning with flexibility, penetrating the barrier between the immanent and the manifest, producing light in the openess within. From alert observation generating illumination awareness expands, and, from observation of the spirit reaching observation of the great, a black pearl hangs in the great void, illuminating the whole world as if it were in your palm. What is this ‘black pearl’?

In the Taoist symbols we find the colour black representing a state of profound tranquility and detachment; we also find the symbol of the pearl representing clarified awareness. The great void is the primordial origins, the source of all things. Being sincere and bringing our clarified awareness into the meeting place of the spirit and the mundane and fostering alert observation, the illumination arising from source amidst tranquility – detached from aquired conditioning and human mentality, our spirit and the great spirit in harmony, and the great river in which we swim illumined with the inner light of the blackpearl, our actions become like the pearl fishers – diving deep into the element of Change.

And yet, the fast flowing powers of the great river in spate, the force of change at work within the world, have another meaning…….

The great river is also the symbol of difficulty, danger, adversity and obstacles, the trials and toils of life. Who would fish for pearls in such waters?

The image of the Water Dragon is also like the power of heaven at work within the Waters. Pitfalls above, strength and illumination below. Being sound and strong and able to manage within the midst of danger. Although not everyone is ready for such challenges, when the times carry the power of change and change is unavoidable, everywhere and affecting everything, the practice  and meaning of  making good the shrines, the clarity and sincerity we find within will reveal path of action – even those who are ready may be guided to wait. Restoring the primordial within the temporal, even when outer action is delayed, the wise nurture strength within – this is the path of strength and firmness that cultivates the primordial within the temporal and knows when to act. Being in alert observation, we are guided to know when to dive in to the fast flowing river, and,  being ready but holding firm is the path of power that nurtures the strength we need to do so. As the oracle says – we cannot presume upon our strength and set about the task impetuously – that would bring on danger.

When the Water Dragon is at large in the world timing is everything, even when it subsumes choice…..we cannot foresee every change or danger in such times, so, our inner wisdom and guidance becomes of the highest value. This itself rests upon making good the shrines. If, however, we assume upon our strength and act impetuously, it is like allowing the powerful under-currents of change to draw us downwards with the flow of the great river deeper in, deeper into the body of difficulty itself. Without clarity, strength and a sense of timing that comes from inner guidance our connection with the illuminating power that arises from source is quickly superceded…..

We live in a world in which, not only is great change at work, but, this change itself is revealing its origins – and, within this, we can see that the quality of change we are experiencing has itself arisen from impetuous actions that have lacked clarity and inner guidance – the mundane world is riven with the hollowness that arises when spirit is not met, in the very place where we could be illuminated with the wisdom of the spirit. The understanding of spirit is up to the individual person, but, when spirit is not met this understanding will either arise from mundane conditioning or not arise at all, which is the place of great danger. Even when change appears to be everywhere, when the river of change is in spate, it does not mean that danger is everywhere or that it cannot be overcome. In such circumstances, it is necessary to recognise danger before one can overcome it. This has increasingly profound meaning in a time such as ours…..

The oracle says that to recognise danger one must believe in danger – believing in danger here means being careful, discerning, refining oneself, gathering strength and waiting for the proper time. In this way one can cope with danger – there is great development in this. In this way, the path of power, of fostering sincerity and great development, offered to us in the time of the Water Dragon is one of gaining good fortune by being correct, even in times of adversity and great change.

The great river is most dangerous, but, offers the highest possibilities for those who know how to enter it. The black pearl is a great treasure that can be found within. But, it is not always necessary to enter the waters to find it – when the time is not yet ripe cultivate the pearl and nurture strength within; when the time comes, advance in strength. Advancing in strength and nourishing it at the proper times, in accord with spirit, is how one can be in danger and yet cope with it, and how one can get out of danger. Such strength is beneficial wherever it goes.

There is an inner path within this path of power – it carries the meaning of restoring the sacred to Life. This path is open to all. It begins with ‘making good the shrines’, cultivating clarity and coming to the meeting place of spirit and the mundane with sincerity to make offerings to spirit – what you give will depend on your own inner clarity and sincerity, however, making offerings now from such a place will not fail to bring illumination from source, even if this itself is the nature of the offering, the spirit with which it is made………great indeed are the gifts that may arise from within the Water Dragon’s path of power. May you be blessed with its power and illumination…..

(1) the I Ching was primarily consulted for this reading using the Thomas Cleary translation of ‘The Taoist I Ching’ : Shambala Publications, 1986. In the next Water Dragon article we will look further into the mysteries of the Dragon Paths as they are revealed through the tracks left by the ancestors.

15 Replies to “Pearl Fishing in the Great River”

  1. Yep – that’s what I am sensing . Thank you as usual, Rob, for confirming my own guidance paralleled by the nitty gritty of life events. What a dance of inner and outer is going on! May we all have that gift of timing and awareness! Blessings – Faith

  2. Thanks, Rob… another excellent piece! I really like the expression ‘making good the shrines’. I refer to it as keeping the Hara line straight, the energetic line that runs through our body field and connects us to the celestial realms above and the Earth below. This line is kept straight by ‘making good the shrines’, living in truth, sincerity and authenticity. We talk about a line being ‘true’ when it is straight, and so being straight ~ in other words, saying what we think and doing what we say ~ is how we achieve truth or trueness. When this line is straight, it is strong and firm, and this gives us a firm guiding line to hold on to when the waves of the water are rough and rising high all around us.

    Once again, thank you for this wise and deep guidance.

  3. Thank you, Rob, for this very grounded and grounding interpretation. I do sometimes fear that the mundane world has left the old ways so far behind that those like myself who want to renew the ancestral teachings cannot possibly make a difference. Then I discover yet another voice, like yours, that is holding up the ancient ways for modern eyes to see. I eagerly anticipate reading more about the Water Dragon, which is ever changing, taking on new ways: the Great Mystery Itself.

    1. Thank-you too Ramona – good to hear from you – yes, there is a groundswell of rejuvination in our midst and every voice matters as a part of this – more on its way right now!

  4. I find it interesting that your Water Dragon is all about tumultuous rivers. I have found mine to be the deep, oceanic world of Calypso working her dissolving magic upon old structures (yes, I know everyone in astrology calls the ruler of the deep, Neptune, but that’s just evidence of the old,patriarchal mode revealing itself. The ancient waters have always been female and it is time to pull off that old mask).

    At any rate, it is a good lesson in perceiving how everyone’s voyage through the water realms is going to be different, with very different nuances feelings and personal assignments attached to the journey.

    1. Hi Sister – thanks for your (as ever) spot on observations – actually, when I started writing about the Water Dragon and the Dragon paths some 6 weeks ago I quickly amassed about six articles worth of material and consequently made the decision to build a picture over a period of time – these first two articles are in some real sense just the tip of the iceberg and there will be more – about which your comment re Calypso is very apt – infact, there seems to be no end to the nuances and unexpected twists and turns of understanding available at this point for interpreting the Water/Dragon theme – so, I concur – as for my own personal experience, the world seems hyper-responsive and very sensitised – fluidity enhanced – and positivity pays positive returns (the antithesis also applies), but, I am getting ahead of myself……

      Ahh yes, Neptunia, whom some astrologers have called the (symbolic) archetype of the archetypal world – personally, I like Calypso better, for her hidden and whiley knowledge, the source of much jealousy amongst the patriarchal classical Greek gods – but, even then, we’re still within the thrall of the Olympian heirarchies of divinity – the universe is changing, the old ways are developing potholes and soon we’ll all be navigating by our own stars across uncharted oceans and subterranean rivers into other worlds…..

  5. Just adding that oceans and lakes are the more yin forms of expression of the water dragon, rivers and streams her more yang forms of expression, everything being a blending of both in chinese philosophy, rather than the either/or modalities of the western brain.

  6. The discussion about the old greek/roman structure and creating new mythologies is my current juicy contemplative edge at the moment – glad to see others are on this path. You know, the romans went down in utter decay using those figures and, gee, uh, it seems no wonder that our civilization is now going down as well, having used that archaic imagery for the past 2000 years. So, how to evolve a new language/vision still standing on the, as you so well note, very tip of that big iceberg. Can’t see it’s bottom when you are standing on top of it and, yes, 90% of it is below the surface of the waters.

    Changed to Calypso because Neptunia still sounds like the girlie version of some male thing. You know, like the high school Trojan football team and their smiling audience the Trojanettes. I am saying, c’mon guys let’s let the women stand on their own, without having to be identified as some derivative of you. Because we are not. so its calypso for me.

    There is so much material in the water world to be dredged up which, as we know, is going to be the order of the day until Calypso leaves Pisces in 2025. Lots of dissolving, melting amongst tidal pools and alpine streams alike. I am always in awe of how the tao continuously keeps unfolding in my own life and have found it to be the single most consistent, sustaining philosophy I have ever studied (and taught). With the chinese water dragon kicking off this year I am feeling a lot of excitement, both micro- and macro-cosmically.

    I also want to comment about the polarity statement, “positive pays positive returns (and the antithesis also applies). . . ” You know, as westerners, we do stand on the tip of an iceberg that is all about profit and posit returns. That is an illusion that is going to fall away for all of us as the west steps down and takes his humble place amongst a world community.

    In the tao, we do not desire anything: our sacred circle is one we cultivate and maintain in a state of equipoise and, whatever comes into that circle is simply dealt with without reactivity – neither positive nor negative in nature. They are irrelevant. One is immune to both flattery and condescension alike, from benefit and disaster alike. There is no ego, so there is no striving for good or bad, positive or negative.

    The vessel of the self can contain all that comes to it; that is the teaching of the tao. I think the trick here is to become comfortable with the paradoxical, the both/and state of being. It is the foundation of eastern philosophies and most westerners have yet to begin to apprehend them. Here’s a well known one: “To yield is to win.” And another, “To give up ground is to move forward.” Or, “We sink down to rise up.” Holding both at all times is the accomplishment of a master (which I am not). In my view, the narrow new age idea that we are all supposed to be just “positive” is as fascistic as the very paradigm we are all trying to shift out of. Different costume, same game. That foundational framework is what is going to dissolve (under Calypso’s influence) or literally crash (under Pluto’s influence in Capricorn) over the next 12-13 years.

    At any rate, thank you for letting me wax on. I find your forum and the way that you write very open and inviting to discussion in a way that furthers our journey into the future, so have taken the opportunity to take up space.
    as always thanks for your great writing and website.

    1. Delighted you have come back with a longer comment Amelia – and I am in whole-hearted agreement about the Neo-mythological chestnut, as that is how I see it; a gordian knot that simply serves no purpose now other than to invite its own timely and swift demise as a way of release from its binding influences. If there is an answer, which of itself in the current outgoing if persistent western ethos demands revision and constant checking, to me at least, it appears to have arisen over a long period, and is, just as we are collectively, at a point of transition within the prevailing zeitgeist – this for me is a good sign. It is also a point of contention for those who cling to the old model, but, for souls such as yourself perhaps, is less of one on a personal level as you have found a truth, tried and tested within your own journey, which works for you – such are the times we live in, where individual validation is a resurgent force amongst which a growing number are finding greater veritas and personal meaning, especially in the face of systemic dissolution, even and most pertinently where people find the system and its concensus opposing our own experience. There is a delicious paradox in this that seems totally appropriate…..

      Just as the Romans were perhaps more deterministically inclined than their European fore-runners when it came to the divine and its place as an active agent within culture increasingly apart from humanity, their adoption and translation of the Greek pantheistic model brought a narrowing of the experience of and relationship with the energies of the ‘archetypes’ and engendered a shift (that was already underway post-Pythagoras) towards greater internalisation of those energies, a shift that ultimately resulted in a western model that put Man (and we’re only just emerging from this bias gendering of humanity) at the center of the Cosmos.

      So, my own questioning comes from a braiding of different strands of experience and enquiry – firstly from a clearly felt impulse to contemporise the way in which the planetary archetypes are percieved, understood and engaged with, especially in the light of the impact of transpersonal and archetypal psychology upon the western view of the inner and outer worlds, their unity and the role of duality within this, and how these are themselves perceived in a post modern era where science is breaking open the Cartesian empirical model and introducing quantum realities (for example) as a deeper questioning of the deterministic nature of consciousness within our perceptions of reality. Secondly, through my own work with energy, both in medicinal and martial applications early on (I took up Tai Chi and Chi Gung in my early 20’s at the behest of a friend and teacher of these, following a severe spinal injury sustained while in a deep and intense dream state – but, there-in lies another long story!), and in working with telluric energies and the earth energy matrix over a longer period, and in vibrational healing later on – in none of these modalities is there an anthropomorphisation of the energy characteristics involved which corresponds to the western model, at least with such vehemence. Subtle, and not so subtle, differences and values are discernable however, and these can be clearly deliniated and need to be to work with them effectively. This is no less tied into how I personally perceive and work with the Taoist tradition, but, is not in itself a dominant. Reason being, thirdly, my involvement with medicine people over a 15 year period of training, and fourthly, my own experiences of the spirit realms.

      What I have learnt, from the latter in particular and especially as a diviner who chooses a public platform as part of the path, has demanded a more open view of just how appropriate that anthropomorphic impulse to characterise the energies manifest, both seen and unseen, within the worlds of our experience really is. I stand in a place of open mindedness when it comes to dialogue, do feel free to contradict myself, recognise the irony and freedom of the paradox within this and, at the same time, I know what I know – it is not always possible for language to match our own inner experience and, since I have found this to be no less true of the outer, feel that the answer is actually less about whether one god/dess is more apropo than another, rather than whether we actually need to break out of the insatiable impulse to nail down reality at all! I like the Taoists for this as it seems to be more akin to the spirit of this tradition….however….

      I see us being collectively at a point where we can make significant choices that fly in the face of concensus…..the approach, then, becomes one of play….and mutual respect! Amongst other things this promises humour and light-heartedness alongside humane and supportive appreciation. In a world in transit these seem essential if a dialogue is to be had that will actually make the difference. To me this applies equally and if engendered becomes a self-reminder that, for example, at the bottom line I am not immune to ego-centric self righteousness, but, so long as I am self-aware I won’t trash another’s point of view simply because it does not correspond to mine…..(but, trolls be aware; self contradiction is a wonderous thing [providing its wisely used])

      One of the foundations of Owlmirror is the fact that his historical personage embodies the European tradition of the ‘contrary’, which in other indigenous traditions might be called the Heyokah…..and, in a world where individual reality is balancing the imposition of deterministic dogma and policy, the process of release this gives rise to, its creative impulse, will inevitably have to take contradiction and paradox into account….there-in, for me at least, is the promise of our freedom as well as the imperative of our times…..there are no masters, unless we are all masters (as Jamie Sams said ‘G, U R U’) in this respect, and respect is the perfect partner for play….as Calypso is all too capable of teaching us!

      Much love….

  7. So gotcha, mate. Thanks for the long delve into uncertainty, self-truth and contemplation of “The Other.” I really, really appreciate the contemplation going on with you. No certainties, just questions of how we have comported ourselves to “normal” versus that ineffable, and complicated self that lies beyond our understanding of “the norm.” What we consider “the norm” is not necessarily “normal.” You know, in the end, when we meet each other, we just really don’t know. And, in that unknowing, lies the heart of the matter. Just passion and uncertainty and faith and hope and trust/distrust and what all we seek to try to make a coherent narrative out of our own lives.

    Woof. It’s big. I appreciate your “bigness.” I appreciate your willingness to “hold” what we do not know. I appreciate your willingness to listen to what I am saying and engage with it at a very deep level of, really, unknowing. I think we are just goobers looking to find meaning. Together or separate. In so many ways, I believe sitting with the unknowing and uncertainty and the willingness to entertain what is not known to be the heart of our work here. I love your openness to contemplation and other ways of looking at ourselves through a different lens.

    Thanks for the space to hold up the “looking glass,” and try to find our way through it, beyond it, and back again. I have no answers. Just trying to find the place where we can speak to each other clearly and with great honor.

    Love your response and I contemplate it at length. As always, I am grown through it. As is the way of the Tao.

    In light, brother


  8. Hey, brother, wherefore art thou?

    I am missing your posts. Okay, so I am being selfish here. I get so much juice from your writing that I’m finding myself dry here on the other end. Hope everything is all right in your world . . . just a little worried. Hope I am just being idiosyncratically paranoid. Still, I am feeling your absence. And feeling a growing concern for where and how you are.

    I LOVE our ongoing conversation about all these esoteric/metaphysical subjects and I miss feeling my brother pulling and pushing on the other end of the cyberspace rope. A bit startling for me to realize that cyberspace actually has a kinesthetic element. Maybe it is because I perceive you so very viscerally. At any rate, I miss your words and celestial harmonics.

    So, please, Rob, give us some more of your good stuff. Talk to us. You are manna from heaven and water from the springs of the earth. Give it up, mate. 🙂 We are thirsty. Well, I am, anyway.

    1. This is very touching Amelia – and I hear you!

      No need for alarm – life, very busy, normal stuff…..and, yes, I am very conscious of the sparcity of posts recently…

      So, heres an exculsive scoop! I am in the process of launching two new sites, one dedicated entirely to my artwork and the other entirely to divination – the former is already live and I am just uploading articles so that as much as the range of my creative work is represented as possible (not quite there yet) – a post about a new piece that kept me busy in the months before new year will be appearing at Owlmirror v. soon, but, if you want a sneak preview of that artwork you can go to, scroll to the bottom of the home page and click on the photo that has a pop-up box headed the ‘Sun Child'(can also be accessed from the ‘about&contacts’ page) – the divining site is having to play second fiddle to the art one at the mo, but, when it goes live it will be called ‘Root Medicine’ – both will have page tabs in the cross-bar at Owlmirror for direct access and I will give them an ‘officiallaunch’ when they are ready….

      in the meantime, I will be posting an owlmirror astro report, the first in over a quarter, before the end of this month – cripes, thats this week!! (sound of furious typing etc….) 😉

  9. Thanks for responding . . . had just been wondering . . .

    I know how it is with so many projects and trying to live a life. Glad to know your silence was about other creative projects – that’s how it should be. Better too busy trying to pursue all our passions than sitting around bored by having none.

    I’ll go check out the sites and look forward to more portals for creative/intellectual/spiritual stimulation from you.
    good luck on that post this week!!

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